About the Artist
My name is Matt Leese and I am an artist capable of developing creative products in a variety of mediums. My current focus is digital illustration and graphic design, but I also have experience with graphite pencils, colored pencil, markers, charcoal, pastels, acrylic paint, gouache paint, 3-D modeling, 2-D animation, clay, Styrofoam, and others. I find inspiration in things like science, philosophy, ancient history, mythology and I am interested in using my talents to help causes I believe in, like environmental preservation and better education.
I grew up in Westland, Michigan, a quiet suburb near Detroit. Most of my life I've been very introverted and substituted social activities with more solitary pursuits, including drawing and constructing things with LEGOs. I could spend entire days working away at various projects, never uttering a word while my little sister watched me. Since the moment I was old enough to hold a pencil, I remember drawing and coloring. Even by age 8, my scribbles were being noticed by my peers and teachers.
Throughout grade school and high school, I did art in my free time (often during class when I should have been paying attention to other subjects!) and would take requests from friends. Until that point, I had only considered art to be a hobby and was planning on going into some field in science. But my high school art teacher took me aside and told me that I just had to pursue art as a career and that the College for Creative Studies was the place for me. Taking more classes with him than his original schedule allowed for, I was prepped in various media and created a pretty solid portfolio of pieces that spanned pencil drawings, marker renderings, paintings, clay models, web animation, and carefully-crafted costumes.
The next year I was accepted to CCS and began taking my foundation art courses and the field that was recommended to me: Industrial Design. Looking back, I'm not sure why I chose that field over the others besides that people told me "that's where the money is." But Industrial Design didn't inspire me in the slightest. I wanted to draw people, environments, and creatures from my imagination, not 50 different desk lamp designs. After just one semester I switched majors to Illustration and instantly felt at home there. I made many friends and took many informative classes that I think really shaped my skills into something marketable. Each instructor had something different and helpful to add to my talent and they were always ready to give good advice, in and out of the classroom.
Thank you to Victor Green for being one of the first art professionals to tell me I was truly gifted and giving me special attention, to Darren Sipos for giving me the push I needed to start along my path in the art field, to all my favorite CCS instructors: Elena Arnaoutova, Dave Chow, Eugene Clark, Erik Olson, Don Kilpatrick, Casey Wise, Keith Newton, and Gil Ashby, and to all those who have believed in me and shown their support.